The Malta Weightlifting Association under the helm of president Jesmond Caruana, successfully organised the Malta International Open from 27th February to 1st March 2020. This was the biggest weightlifting competition ever organised in Malta and also the most important event since it was a Silver Qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This was also the first Olympic qualification event ever organised on our Islands. The event took place in the Paradise Bay Hotel in Ċirkewwa and it was a big challenge for the Association since everything was set in one place to meet the International Weightlifting Federation standards and deliver a high level competition.
25 countries participated in this competition including, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Moldova, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Uruguay and USA. Initially the number of countries to compete was much higher, but there were some countries that could not compete for several reasons including COVID-19.
First Maltese athlete on stage Tenishia Thornton, she set two national records during the Malta International Open
The 14-year-old, who normally takes part in the 49kg class, opted to go down one weight category in the Silver-rated qualifier and competed in the 45kg class where she was the only entry.
Despite being her first international competition of the year, Thornton immediately showed that she was already in fine fettle when lifting 55kg in the snatch, 70kg in clean and jerk for a total of 125kg.
Her 70kg in clean and jerk and the 125kg total were a new national record in the category.
Her performance, which yielded her three gold medals, undoubtedly is a confidence booster for the talented lifter as she steps up her preparations for the next high level competitions.
Yazmin Zammit Stevens won a bronze medal on the 2nd day at the Malta International Open.
The result was a huge feat for Malta’s leading senior lifter as she was up against some of the world’s best lifters in her categories who were looking to gain points that would boost their bid of qualifying for next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
Competing in the 71kg category, Zammit Stevens, was up against six other lifters and managed to produce her best effort in the Clean and Jerk where she managed to lift 107kg to not only match her own national record, but more importantly placed her third overall, only behind to American duo Anna Rode (110kg) and Morgan Vozobule (109kg).
The Maltese lifter also finished just outside the podium in both the Snatch and Overall Total when placing fourth.
In fact, she managed 82kg in snatch that along with her clean and jerk earned her an overall total of 189kg.
“I am always so nervous before Olympic qualifiers,” Zammit Stevens told the Times of Malta.
“The pressure is on more than ever in these types of competitions. Initially, I thought medaling was close to impossible as both lifters from USA and another from France are so strong, but I knew my clean and jerk is strong enough to challenge.
“Winning a medal at an Olympic qualifier on home soil and in front of a huge supporting crowd was probably one of the highlights of my career so far.
“107kg is equal my best in this weight class, but I’m on my way back down to 64kg body weight so I’m excited to see if I can take this strength on to that weight class at my next international competition .”
Roberta Tabone, Malta’s other representative in the division, also produced a commendable showing with a best effort of 77kg in Snatch and lifting 98kg in Clean and Jerk for an overall total of 175kg that left her fifth overall.
The Malta Weightlifting would like to thank all 50 volunteers that contributed for this successful event.
You can follow Malta International open 2020 Results on: https://www.iwf.net/new_bw/results_by_events/?event=500
You can watch each category of the Malta International open 2020, Olympic qualification event for Tokyo 2020, (silver level) on the following link.
59kg & 64kg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBYdiK8OFgs
71kg & 76kg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duU_MgMi-eo&t=6s
81kg, 87kg & +87kg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qGU5QdOov4
89kg & 96kg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjpYNil7vjg
Competition pictures on: https://www.facebook.com/pg/DarrinZammitLupiPhotography/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2892699047481139